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Generous Grant Ensures Historic Lamp Post Clock Will Once Again Welcome Union Station Guests

March 24, 2016

Rainen Family Foundation Grants $50,000 to Restore Piece of KC History

KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 23, 2016) — The Michael J. Rainen Family Foundation recently awarded a $50,000 grant to Union Station Kansas City, Inc., which operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history. 

This generous grant will be used specifically to restore and relocate the historic lamp post clock dating back to the 1880’s.  In its fully-restored state, the iconic clock will be featured in the context of Union Station’s massive Western Expansion Project.

On January 8, 2015, mother nature took her toll on the outer casing of the historic lamp post clock located on the front sidewalk of Union Station.  Bitterly cold temperatures, wind and time all contributed to the iconic structure coming apart.  On that day, the upper section fell to the ground, breaking into multiple pieces.  

The clock was originally constructed in the 1880's by the E Howard Clock Company. By the mid 1880's it sat at the corner of 10th and Main.  In 1918, when the Mace Jewelers acquired the clock, it was moved to 11th and Grand. Then in 1936, the clock was moved to the front of Union Station.

In 1999, the clock was named in honor of Barnett and Shirley Helzberg for their major donation to help fund the massive restoration of Union Station.   In time for the reopening of the Station, the outer clock casting was also refurbished and the badly-deteriorated inner mechanism was replaced with modern movements.  The lamp post clock-face was once again illuminated, welcoming guests to the Station along the front sidewalk.  And there it stood for 15 years.

“When the lamp post clock was damaged in early 2015, there was never a question about our desire to restore it as a piece of Kansas City and Union Station history,” George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station, said.  “With plans underway for our new streetscape to the south of the Station – part of the larger Western Expansion project – we knew we had a perfect chance to restore and relocate the clock to a more prominent location for all guests to enjoy.  The funds needed for the restoration recently came from a successful longtime Kansas City

entrepreneur, real estate developer and friend of the Station, Mike Rainen.  Kathy and Mike’s gift of $50,000 and personal challenge to all of Kansas City represent the spirit of determination that originally built Union Station.”

“The Rainen Family Foundation is honored to help restore the historic lamp post clock,” Mike Rainen said.  “Union Station is more than a building, it’s a remarkable combination of individual elements, memories and family moments for Kansas Citians.  For nearly 80 years, guests – including Kathy’s and my own parents and grandparents - were greeted by the lamp post clock.  They oriented themselves to time and place by its function and beauty.  The chance to help restore it to its original splendor is a pure delight.  Now, I challenge others who love Kansas City and Union Station history to commit support to the ambitious Western Expansion project.  It will be moving to see the clock keeping time once again and welcoming us all – including me, Kathy and our kids – to Kansas City’s grand monument.”

The historic heart of the original clock – it’s 1880’s mechanism – was restored by The Clock Shop of Kansas City separate from the outer pedestal and is currently on display, in working order, just inside the entrance to Science City.

In late February, the shattered pieces of the outer casting we’re packaged and shipped to Medfield, MA, where the clock is being restored.  Current plans are to erect the clock in its new location – along Pershing Road – this summer.  Contributions to the Western Expansion project, regardless of size, are welcome and can be made online at unionstation.org/westernexpansion.

  


Artist Rendering of Restored Lamp Post Clock in Union Station’s New South Plaza Pedestrian Walkway

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About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City -- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- is a 100-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization -- dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history -- is home to Kansas City’s internationally-awarded Science Center; the popular Model Railroad Experience; the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility regularly hosts community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit www.unionstation.org for details. Also, follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and YouTube